The Returned – Season One

Posted on July 30, 2013

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The Returned

The Returned
Picture courtesy of advanced-television.com


When I saw the adverts for The Returned I knew immediately that it was going to be a hit. Even with French subtitles I knew that people would fall for its charms.

Known as Les Revenants in its home country of France and created by Fabrice Gobert where it was shown on Canal+ in France and BeTV in Belgium running season one’s eight episodes from 26 November to 17 December 2012. It was originally a 2004 film called They Came Back; again Les Revenants in French. The soundtrack is by the brilliant Scottish band Mogwai and they do a brilliant job at making creepy music to go with it considering that it hadn’t been filmed at the time they made the album. They just had half a script to go on apparently and just went with gut feeling.

With an average of 1.8 million viewers for a subtitled show on Channel Four on a Sunday night it certainly hasn’t done too badly considering no-one really knows the actors here in the UK or apparently even in France so I read in a TV magazine a few days ago although I don’t believe that for one moment.
The tension is as taut as anyone can handle and the Returned are frightening because they have knowledge that the others don’t and of course they cannot die. They are relentless and creepy…

The story is a simple idea. What would you do if years after losing a loved one they suddenly came back with not a blemish or mark on them? What would you do? Would you run screaming? Would you thank God for their return and see it as a miracle or would you think it the end and take your own life? Maybe you would try to kill them even though they don’t seem to realise that they have been away for no longer than a few hours?

Léna and Camille, The Returned

Twins Léna and Camille as played by Jenna Thiam and Yara Pilartz
Picture courtesy of http://www.guardian.co.uk


Each episode is a little gem and the first seven are titled after eight of the characters; Camille, Simon, Julie, Victor, Serge and Toni, Lucy and then Adèle. The eighth episode is aptly named La Horde.

You are taken into their individual worlds, seeing it from their eyes, but never enough to reveal anything with other characters dipping in to add to the tension and fear. Then there is something else in the background that is in every episode right from the very beginning. The dam. And this I think is behind the whole mystery. There is also a serial killer called Serge who comes back as well.

Now I won’t give anything away for you should watch it yourself and fall into the world of the people of the small mountain town.

The acting is top-notch. They all do an outstanding job, making you believe in their world and what is happening to them. The one’s who stand out for me are Yara Pilartz as Camille, the first of the Returned and one of the main antagonists, the brilliant Jenna Thiam as Léna who is Camille’s twin sister and then there is Victor, a creepy little boy brilliantly played by Swann Nambotin. His character is very complex and you aren’t sure if he is evil or misunderstood?

The cast is huge and they all act their socks off. The series itself is well-directed and expertly written and the atmosphere is gripping and downright spooky. It has everything and leaves you wanting more as soon as an episode it finished. I see big things for all involved and I wish them well on their journey but I especially see a big future for Jenna Thiam who has an amazing screen presence. Hollywood will probably knock on her door before long I reckon.

La Horde - The Returned

La Horde – The Returned
Picture courtesy of http://www.esquire.co.uk


I have my own theories as to what’s going on which I have held to from the first episode but I’ll leave you to find your own.

There will be a season two in 2014 and I for one cannot wait to see what happens. There will also be a British remake, the rights already bought to it. I suspect that this will fly and sell all over the world. It won’t be long before the Americans do likewise but do yourself a favour and watch the original before any remakes. You won’t regret it. Watch it and be awed…

You can get a background on season one and a look at season two here

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